Invisible-in-canal (IIC)

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids are the smallest custom hearing aids available. They are designed and sculptured to fit entirely inside your ear canal (external auditory meatus) and are therefore almost, if not completely, invisible. Extraction cords are usually fitted to IIC hearing aids to help insert and remove them from the ear.

Starkey offer deep fitting IIC hearing aids that fit in the deep bony portion of your ear canal, within a few millimetres of your eardrum (please note your Audiologist/Hearing Aid Dispenser must be certified and licensed by Starkey to prescribe their deep fitting IIC hearings as it requires specialist training to take a deep ear impression). Deep fitting IIC hearing aids can significantly reduce the sensation of ‘occlusion’ (e.g. hearing your voice louder in your head as if its trapped inside) which can sometimes occur when IIC hearing aids fits in the outer cartilaginous portion of your ear canal. This is because unlike the cartilaginous portion, the bony part of the ear canal doesn’t internally vibrate as much when you talk.

invisible-in-canal_iic_hearing_aidReSound LiNX2On earIICside

Hover over to view IIC when worn

IIC hearing aids house a size 10 (Yellow) battery. The typical lifespan of a size 10 battery is between 3-5 days, but this can vary depending upon the number of hours per day the hearing aid is worn, the severity of hearing loss and the technology level of hearing aid.

Benefits

  • Miniature size and invisible appearance.
  • The location of the microphone in the ear canal, as opposed to behind the ear, helps with:
    • using the telephone.
    • the preservation of the natural acoustics provided by the external ear (pinna) that help with localising the direction of sound from in front and behind you.

Limitations

  • Less powerful due to smaller receiver size.
  • Single omni-directional microphone that is sensitive to sounds arriving from all around you. Subsequently, they are not always best equipped for when hearing in the presence of background noise.
  • Ear anatomy must be of a certain shape and size to house all the electronic components inside.
  • Not appropriate if you have poor vision or manual dexterity.
  • Don’t come with the option of a Telecoil, although some manufacturers now offer wireless IIC hearing aids which are slightly larger in size.
  • Require more maintenance and are more susceptible to damage due to ear wax ingression inside the microphone port, which is located inside the ear canal.
  • Small ventilation hole only possible due to limited space, therefore increasing likelihood of occlusion (hearing of internal sounds).
  • Smaller surface area means they are more likely to:
    • feedback (e.g. whistle) due to acoustic leakage
    • work loose whilst talking and chewing, especially if you have a straight and inclined ear canal.

Other hearing aid styles…